Friday, June 29, 2012

An Open Letter to My Owner

I'd really like to know why you brought me here. Did you like me when you got me or was I just another toy? You liked me a lot when I was smaller, I think. You cuddled me and told me I was cute. You showed me off to all of your friends. You liked to tell them I was going to be big and tough and strong. I didn't care what you said, really, as long as you loved me.

You got mad when I was smaller and used the bathroom in your house. It's not my fault you weren't watching me. I wanted to go out, but I had to go so bad that I couldn't wait. You made me live outside then. This made me very sad. I could see you in your house, and I knew you needed me to be by your side. That's where I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to make you happy when you're sad. I'm supposed to protect you and make you feel safe when you're scared, and you're supposed to do the same for me.

When I couldn't see you through the windows, I'd leave the yard looking for you. You would suddenly appear, mad and loud, and drag me roughly back to the yard. I'd wag my tail, just because I was happy to see you. You came home one day with a chain. You attached one end of the chain to my dog house and one to my collar. It was so heavy, I could hardly hold it up. I wagged my tail because you came to see me.

I got bored a lot outside. I got used to the heavy chain, but I couldn't get used to the boredom. I dug holes and chewed on my dog house a lot. I chewed my dog house so much that the water leaks in when it rains. When you would come out to give me food, you'd call me stupid for chewing a hole in my dog house. I wagged my tail because you came to see me.

One day, when I was bigger, you brought people to see me. They liked the size of my head and muscles. They were amazed at the size of my neck. Theirs would be as big as mine if they had to drag this heavy chain. They wanted to have puppies by me. They said I was pretty and big and tough and I'd throw pretty puppies. I wagged my tail because these people liked me.

It wasn't long before the people came back. I didn't like the dog they brought with them. He was cranky and he smelled bad. He was supposed to be my mate, they said. I bit him when he came close. You hit me and told me I was bad. You said this is what I was supposed to do, now sit and take it. I didn't want to be with this dog. I was too young. I wasn't ready. I didn't like him. I growled and I bit and I made a big fuss. The people got mad and went away. You fussed because I cost you money. I cost you time. I knew you were upset, so I tried to lick your hand. You hit my nose and walked away. I wagged my tail slow, because I was sad to see you go.

It wasn't long before more people came with dogs they wanted me to breed with. This time, they didn't give me a chance to react. They left me on my chain and roughly put me in a contraption, a "breeding stand" they called it. I growled and I screamed and I cried. I didn't want to be with that dog. Satisfied, the people left with their dogs. They would be back after the puppies, my puppies, were born.

I guess you liked me better when I was pregnant, when I could make you money. You visited me more often, and you brought me nicer food. I got hungrier as I got bigger, but you didn't always bring me enough food. It wasn't long before I had my puppies, but you weren't there to see it. You had left to go somewhere, and I hadn't seen you in days. The person you told to give me food hadn't come. I was hungry. My puppies were hungry. I had seven. I don't remember how many boys or girls. I couldn't feed them all. I was hungry, and they were hungry. I ate four of them before you came home. You screamed at me and kicked me. You took my puppies away. I barked and howled and tugged as hard as I could at my chain. I could feed three, I thought, I just needed to be with my puppies.

You gave me food, but you didn't let me see my puppies again. I don't know what I did to make you so mad. I didn't wag my tail the last time you came to see me. I ducked my head and turned away.
People came to get my puppies, one by one, including the people with the male dog that fathered my puppies. They came through the yard I was in, and I battled my chain to get close to them. I was mad. I didn't want them taking my puppies, any of them. I didn't trust them. I didn't like the way they smelled. As they left with one of my young puppies, they told you I had game. They laughed at me, at how hard I was fighting my chain. They said I could make him money in a different way.

You came outside one day and took me off my chain. For the first time, I felt a sense of freedom. I was away from my own waste, away from that nasty patch of dirt crawling with fleas. You put me in a cage in your truck and drove away from your house. I should have been afraid, but I was so happy that I was away from that chain. As we got closer to where you wanted us to be, I could smell blood. I was terrified. Where were we? What were we doing there? I smelled blood, sweat, and waste. I saw the people who took my puppies, all of them. I saw them standing in a circle, watching two dogs fighting. The dogs were locked at each other's throats, neither wanting to let go, neither wanting to hold on. Someone said it was a tie, that the two dogs would try again later. They all looked at you, at me. They wanted a new dog in the ring.

You took my leash off. I wasn't sure what to do. I was going to run. I was going to run far away from this place, until they put him in. It wad the first dog they tried to mate with me. I should know it wasn't his fault, but I focus on his horrid scent instead. I hated the way he looked at me. I hated his scarred features and drooping mouth. His hackles were raised, and his ears were flat. I looked to you, but your eyes were hard and shiny. You saw dollar signs when you looked at me. I charged.

I tasted blood when I sank my teeth deep into his foreleg. I should have bit him in his neck. I didn't want to kill him. I wanted to make him leave me alone. I knew if I didn't act first, I'd be seen as weak. I regretted my decision as his teeth tore into my ear, ripping it down the middle. I howled in pain. I looked to you, but you were cheering. You thought I was doing great.

My heart sank. You weren't going to save me. I wasn't the puppy you loved. I was a way to make money. I was your status symbol, some "rare" color from a "rare" bloodline. You thought I was special, but only in as much as what others saw in me. I looked at you, and I knew I hated you. I released my grip on the male dog's leg. I looked straight at you. You knew what I could do. You knew I could do damage to your tender flesh and bones. You knew I could kill you. With purpose, I wagged my tail. You had failed me. You had made me hate you, but I could never hurt you. I turned back to the circling male. It would end now. I would live or I would die.

As I lie here wounded, I hear your approaching footsteps. There are people with you. They tell you it's too bad you got a weak dog. You can try again. You can get a pup off one of their dogs, the male that beat me if he wants, since he's a champion. You call me names. You kick me and say I'm worthless. You grab fistfuls of my fur and begin dragging me out of the ring. I wag my tail because you're touching me.

You put the gun to my temple. You call me worthless again. I look into your eyes, and they are empty. You pull the trigger. I wag my...


This is a fictitious story based on the very sad reality of fighting dogs and dogs that belong to backyard breeders. Dogs want to be part of your family. They want to be with you, not a "big yard" or a chain. If you can't make your dog part of the family, find a home that will. Your dog will thank you.

If you see a dog is tethered, check local animal control ordinances and report it, especially if the dog has no obvious source of water and shelter.

The photo on this blog is of CCAC 121679, an unfortunate dog that was pulled by an unlicensed rescue and later dumped at a shelter with an embedded collar and a leg injury that was severely he was emaciated. Horror stories like this can be prevented. Spay/neuter your pets. Have your pets microchipped and keep ID on them. Thoroughly research any rescue you are considering surrendering to, donating to, or adopting from.

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